There are some aromas in the kitchen that I love….well, ok, many aromas, but one of my favorites is the smell of peppers roasting, especially poblanos. I think the hardest part of roasting peppers is letting them sit covered after they are done. How do you like to roast peppers? Do you hold it over the gas flame? On the grill? Broiled in the oven? As much as I love cooking, I have to admit at times I am a lazy cook looking for the easy route. So for me, I always roast peppers in the oven, yes, too lazy to fire up the grill or to stand holding peppers over the flame.
Chiles Rellenos (Stuffed Chile) is one dish I love to have when dining out at a Mexican restaurant, but until now not one of my favorites to make at home. I didn’t like the mess of frying them or the two-step egg process to get the batter “just right”. Admittedly almost always my peppers ending up breaking when I stuffed them, but sometimes messes become successes. This recipe is one of them. It happened one day when I had a “open-faced” (nice way of saying broken) stuffed pepper. Of course, I couldn’t throw it away. I thought about just broiling it with a nice topping of cheese, since cheese makes everything better, but one of the parts I love about chiles rellenos-the fluffy coating. So I put on my To Cook Is To Create thinking cap, grabbed a beer and a package of instant pancake mix and this recipe is the result. Just about any filling can be used, great for leftovers! This filling is based on one of my favorite dips-Apache Dip, perfect baked in a bread bowl. If you never had Apache dip, google it, tons of recipes to choose, but a basic and easy one to remember- 8oz each of cheese, cream cheese, and sour cream, 1 can of green chilies, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, and ham. Imagine all that cheesy goodness of the dip stuffed in a pepper topped with a sour cream sauce!
Put your TO COOK IS TO CREATE thinking cap on: Not a sour cream sauce fan? Make a homemade Enchilada Sauce or use both sauces. Think about what you like in chiles rellenos. Jalapenos? Lots of cheese? Black olives? Add it into the stuffing. Love Spanish rice and beans? Serve the peppers over a bed of beans and add some rice to the filling.Think about what you like on a ham and cheese sandwich. Tomatoes? Add chopped tomatoes to filling or the sauce. Lettuce? These chiles rellenos are wonderful served over a bed of shredded lettuce. Egg? Top with a fried or poached egg before adding sauce. What other leftovers would make tasty stuffed poblano peppers? Still have leftover ham? Make Club Meatballs or freeze it for a future pot of beans. Don’t forget to freeze the bone, too.
FOOD FUN: Chile Rellenos originated in Peubla, Mexico, in the 16th century. But nowadays you don’t need to travel far to find different combinations of fillings, peppers, or festivals. There are annual chile rellenos celebrations in New York City, Atlanta, Santa Monica, and Denver. Road trip?